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7 Most Famous Soccer Player Numbers (Ranked)

When it comes to Soccer, there is a wide range of numbers that players can use on their jerseys. Whilst some of these are simply mere placeholders for a players’ place in the squad, some of these numbers hold much more significance. 

Today we are going to be counting down through the most famous soccer numbers, looking at what position they are most commonly associated with, and which famous players have donned the number in the past. Time to get to it

Most Famous Jersey NumbersMost Famous Player
1. Number 7Cristiano Ronaldo
6. Number 9Zlatan Ibrahimovic
5. Number 10Lionel Messi
4. Number 1Gianluigi Buffon
5. Number 11Ryan Giggs
6. Number 8Steven Gerrard
7. Number 3Paolo Maldini

7. Number 3

  • Famous Number 3 Players: Patrice Evra, Ashley Cole, Paolo Maldini

Usually used by a left-back, the number 3 has a special place in many players’ hearts.

Whilst the position of the left back may not be the most glamorous on the soccer field, it is an important one that must be filled by a player who can not only read the game well but attack and defend with aplomb. 

Throughout history, left-backs have faced jokes about their position with fans often referring to it as the lead important position on the field.

This is a common mistake though, given that Soccer is a team sport the number 3 man is just as vital as any other player when the whistle is blown for kick-off.

Some of the most famous number 3 players to have played the game include Manchester United legend Patrice Evra, the Frenchman who wore the shirt throughout his time at Old Trafford and won countless honors with it on his shoulders.

Former MLS star Ashley Cole was also known for his number 3 jersey that he wore during his Chelsea years, the English left-back also won many trophies with the jersey on his back. 

6. Number 8

  • Famous Number 8 Players: Andres Iniesta, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard

Next up on our list is the number of the most creative man on the soccer field, the number 8 jersey is usually reserved for the attacking midfielder that often delivers both goals and assists in plentiful supply. 

The role of a number 8 is often a relatively free one when compared to other players in a soccer team, this is because the team needs a player to be able to cover a wide area of the field and pick a pass from almost anywhere on it.

This is not an easy job, with players having to have a ‘sixth sense’ in terms of their passing range and control of the ball. 

There have been plenty of great players that have worn the number 8 shirt, including Liverpool stalwart Steven Gerrard. The English midfielder was one of the most combative and talented of his generation and led Liverpool to a number of major honors. Gerrard also spent time in the MLS with LA Galaxy. 

5. Number 11

  • Famous Number 11 Players: Gareth Bale, Ryan Giggs, Rivaldo

Often used by wingers or wide midfielders, the number 11 is one of the most prestigious numbers that these kinds of players can have the honor of wearing. Number 11’s may not be the most ‘flare’ style winger but are arguably the most technically gifted on the pitch. 

The role of a number 11 is varying, often they will pick up the ball relatively deep down the field and need to drive forward in order to start an attack.

Other times they will receive the ball in a wide position and need to deliver an inch-perfect cross for their strikers to head into the back of the net. Sometimes they also pop up with a goal themselves and are often good set-piece takers. 

One of the greatest soccer stars to have worn the number 11 on his back was Manchester United’s all-time record appearance maker, Ryan Giggs.

The Welshman wore the shirt for many years and helped lead his team to some of the biggest honors in the sport, he also contributed some vital goals during his lengthy professional career. 

Unfortunately, Giggs’ legendary status has been marred by recent legal troubles for which he is currently undergoing trial for in England. 

4. Number 1

  • Famous Number 1 Players: Gianluigi Buffon, Manuel Neuer, Petr Cech

Possibly the most recognizable number in soccer in regards to what position it is traditionally reserved for, the number 1 jersey is of course the go-to choice for a teams first-choice goalkeeper. The number has become intertwined with what it means to be a top-quality shot-stopper. 

The role of a goalkeeper is probably the most simple on the field, they need to prevent the opposition from scoring by any means possible. The goalkeeper is the only player on the team that is permitted to use their hands within the 18-yard box and as such this makes a good goalkeeper a valuable commodity for any team. 

These days, goalkeepers also need to be good with their feet in order to act as a ’sweeper’ should the defenders not be able to deal with a long ball forward. 

Some of the best players to have worn the famous number 1 jersey include Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon, who in my opinion is the greatest goalkeeper of all-time. The former Juventus man has a lengthy career that has resulted in numerous trophy-winning campaigns and a plethora of clean-sheet matches. 

Other great players to have worn number 1 include: Peter Schmeichel, Manuel Neuer, Oliver Kahn, and Petr Cech. 

3. Number 10

  • Famous Number 10 Players: Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Pele

As we reach the top 3 of today’s list, the next number is 10. This iconic jersey is usually worn by a second striker or attacking midfielder and like the number 8 jersey, it is worn by a highly skilled playmaker and often a classy goal scorer. 

The role of a number 10 is very similar to that of the 8, however, the key difference is that a number 10 is expected to add many more goals to their game than an 8.

In a formation with two strikers, it is usually the number 10 player that will play off the shoulders of the defenders and attempt to get in behind to score goals. Failing this, they will drive at the defence with the ball at their feet and try to confuse them with their wide range of skills and ball control.

The most notable wearer of the number 10 jersey throughout history is the legend that is Lionel Messi, the former Barcelona and now Paris Saint Germain star donned the number during his prime years with the Catalan giants in Barcelona. 

Messi needs no introduction; his statistics are simply mind-blowing with him breaking almost every record that has been put in front of him for both goals and assists. If his stats are mind-blowing, then his actual on-field performances are simply awe-inspiring. We may never see another number 10 like Lionel Messi.

2. Number 9

  • Famous Number 9 Players: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Erling Haaland, Ronaldo Nazario

Whilst the number 10 is usually worn by a second striker, the number 9 jersey is primarily worn by the center-forward or primary striker. This is a jersey for goal scorers; however, it goes in the back of the net.

The role of a number 9 is also a simple one, to score goals and ensure that they are always on hand to deliver whenever the team gets forward. The type of player that a number 9 can vary massively though, some strikers are built like giants and use their height and strength to bully opposition defenders.

Others rely on their pace and tactical mind to get in the right place at the right time and are often called a ‘fox in the box’.

As of right now, the most famous number 9 in the world is Erling Haaland. The Norwegian powerhouse is the complete striker, in my opinion, he has pace, strength, precision, and almost anything else you can think of in order for him to score goals.

Since joining Manchester City in the Summer, he has hit the ground running and is currently the top scorer in the Premier League. 

1. Number 7

  • Famous Number 7 Players: Cristiano Ronaldo, George Best, Eric Cantona

Of the 7 most famous soccer numbers, it only seems fitting that the number 7 tops our list. This number is traditionally worn by the star of the team, which is usually an exciting winger that can beat a man and deliver goals when required. 

The role of a number 7 is to entertain in any way possible whilst still being a team player and vital outlet in the wider areas of the field. A number 7 is often incredibly talented on the ball and can carve their way through a defence with relative ease. 

Some number 7’s have been accused of arrogance over the years, with some believing they work for themselves rather than the team. That said, you need a bit of arrogance to have the audacity to pull off what some of these famous players have managed. 

It is at Manchester United where the number 7 jersey has become so recognizable, with club legends such as Cristiano Ronaldo, George Best, Bryan Robson, and Eric Cantona all having pulled on the famous number during their time at Old Trafford. 

Do you think we go this one right, or would you have shuffled the numbers slightly?